Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes, and clips and puts it all in perspective.
I am fascinated by Scientology. I live about a mile and a half away from the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center and all the other intimidating light blue Scientology buildings here in Los Angeles. I keep asking my wife if we can get breakfast at one of these places because I've heard the waffles are amazing. She's considering it.
In recent years, the world behind Scientology has been ripped open. The most notable expose, Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, was adapted into a documentary on HBO. Directed by Alex Gibney, the film did an excellent job of examining the history of this religion created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Before Hubbard passed away, the leadership torch had passed to David Miscavige, who has been characterized as a brutal tyrant by many who have left the church. If you are interested in Scientology, I think the best written, balanced-but-not-too-balanced examination of the subject is Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman. But you can't go wrong with either version of Going Clear.
My Scientology Movie appears come at the subject from a more humorous perspective. Keep in mind, the walls of Scientology have really come down in recent years. The fear of reprisal has lessened. So while there's some bravery here, it doesn't come close to those who have taken the church to task even a decade ago and suffered it's litigious onslaught and endured the destruction of their reputations.
This trailer doesn't quite give a sense of what's funny about what Louis Theroux is doing. Is he trying to join the church? Uncover the church's finances? Meet David Miscagive? What's the goal? It's not quite enough to just appear in front of the Hollywood Scientology Church and demand entrance. Say what you will about Michael Moore, he has a stated reason why he's visiting the places he's visiting. There's an emotional hook, like calling the CEO of General Motors out for their massive layoffs. There's got to be some better hook than what they are showing us here.
I'm interested, but I'm not quite sure this documentary has something unique to say on the endlessly fascinating subject of Scientology.